ORT Chief Getting Up To Speed

by Paul Gatling  on Wednesday, Nov. 21, 2012 9:35 am  

JG: My role here is a servant to the people that I work for. I guess that’s the best way to put it. To find a way to build efficiencies into the jobs that they do, and make sure these guys can get their jobs done. As a leader, that’s what I am going to do. That’s what I have been ingrained to do. That’s what I have always done. And that’s just to make it so everyone else can do their jobs.


NWABJ: What are you most looking forward to about this position?

JG: I am looking forward to seeing this system grow and develop into a system that I know it can be. I see a lot of potential. I really do. But the first thing we’ve got to do is clean up our own backyard before we tell anybody else what to do or how to do it, or anything to that effect. We’re already working on some items that I have classified as inefficiencies. We’re already working on cost-saving measures, looking for ways to reduce monthly payments on items we either don’t need or we’re paying too much for, and looking for ways to save the taxpayer dollars. I am designated as a steward of taxpayer funds, and I’d better be a wise steward.


NWABJ: What does ORT do well and what does it need to work on?

JG: They really present themselves well in the community. To look at ORT from the outside, and I’ve looked a lot from the outside and a little from the inside, I’ll tell you this: A clean bus is really an efficiently run bus. And the reason I say that is when we have a clean bus, we have maintenance people that take care of the buses. We have drivers that take care of the inside of the buses. We have employees who are driving well. They care about passengers. And I don’t necessarily mean the lack of dirt, but the lines are straight, it’s well maintained, all the things I just outlined. That shows that the staff here is phenomenal. And I can already tell the staff is phenomenal.

Some of the things we need to immediately begin working on are route efficiencies. That’s going to be the first thing we start addressing — where it works and where it doesn’t work. Like all transit systems, there are areas that are dead areas.


NWABJ: What do you see as the role of the ORT and its dollars? Is it to provide services to homeless, disabled or unemployed, or is it providing a bus system to move cars off the streets, to serve the working population?

JG: Public transportation should be, when we look at our ridership, it should be a combination of choice riders and need riders. Choice riders are those of us in the work force who choose to use public transportation because of its efficiency and its timeliness. Then there are need riders. It should be a combination of the two.

Need riders should not be our primary focus. When we get this into a regional system that serves well and provides proof of on-time performance, and quality service, we’re going to get the choice riders, the people who have vehicles.



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